A former Lehigh Regional Medical Center official and a local physician who recently practiced in Lehigh Acres flew some 21,000 pounds of medical equipment to Port-au-Prince following the 2010 earthquake that rocked Haiti. The anniversary of the quake was last week.
Chris Rakunas, who was the hospital's chief executive officer (CEO), has written a book about the quake and it describe the time that he and Dr. Stephen Schroering first heard about the quake until after they returned from their mission of taking medical supplies to the island nation.
The book, Tears for the Mountain, has just been published and is available at major retailers including Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and directly from the publisher at divertirpublishing.com where it is listed at $14.95. An ebook version is available for $6.95 from the publisher, Divertir Publishing, an independent press in New Hampshire that focuses on books with special causes. A portion of the profits from the sale of the book will go to New Life Children's Home, the orphanage that Schroering and Rakunas worked through while in Haiti. Schroering returns sometimes monthly and gives of his medical services to the children in that orphanage, which he says he has adopted.
"The most important thing about the book to me, is that every copy sold helps the orphanage," Rakunas said. "Shortly after our trip there, the aid to Haiti began to dry up, but the people in Haiti are still in need."
Rakunas said he is also hopeful that the book will help bring some focus back to those that remain homeless, thousands of people, without food and orphaned.
"It was important for us to tie the book back to the orphanage in Haiti," said Dr. Ken Tupper, the publisher. "This is the second time Divertir has brought forward books that supports an important cause."
Previously the company published a book that donated back to Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Rakunas, well-known in Lehigh Acres and an active member of several organizations, said the book is one of the continuing ways that Dr. Schroering, an orthopedic surgeon, has continued to give to the children of Haiti. In 2010 and 2011 he not only made trips to Haiti, but also worked to bring children to the U.S. for medical services, including Jimmy Guerrier, who received treatment at Lehigh Regional's Wound Care Institute.
The Citizen did a story on Guerrier when he was at LRMC.
Rakunas said the title of the book comes from a piece of graffiti that orphanage director Miriam Frederick pointed out to the two in Port-au-Prince showing a personified map of Haiti crying.
Frederick said that without the support of "so many wonderful people," they would not be able to save many of the children that are saved from poverty and malnutrition.
Orphanage director Frederick, who has been called the Mother Teresa of Haiti, spends most of the year at New Life Children's Home, directing operations there, Rakunas said.
The 21,000 pounds of medical supplies were donated by the hospital and others in the area. Schroering said in a Citizen story after he returned that the supplies helped to save many lives at the orphanage.
Rakunas and his wife have moved to another part of Florida.